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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: San Diego, San Diego Adult Education Regional Consortia

ESL Students Succeed in Personal Care Assistants Class

  • Type of Practice: Classroom Practices
  • Targeted Population: English Language Learners, Vocational Certificate Students
  • Program Area(s): English as a Second Language & Citizenship , Career Technical Education
  • Consortia Involved:
    San Diego Adult Education Regional Consortium: San Diego Community College District, San Diego Unified School District

The Challenge

More than 50% of the students who desire to work in the health care field or study CNA are second language learners who do not have the basic skills necessary to obtain employment or succeed in the CNA class and pass the state certification test.

The Solution

The vocational (RN) and ESL teachers co-teach: the RN demonstrates a skill and the ESL teacher provides language and vocabulary instruction to enable students to complete the skill. The ESL teacher developes comprehension activities and Podcasts for audio support, since the textbook presents language challenges.


After 240 hours of contextualized instruction in the ESL for Personal Care Assistant class, students are qualified to work as personal care assistants and to apply for the CNA training program.

The Data

Since the inception of this class in 2009, about 30 students successfully completed the CNA training program.

In the fall 2014 semester cohort, there was 90% persistence after 240 hours of instruction. 90% of those students improved CASAS scores by at least 3 points from pre to post test, two students were accepted in the CNA program, and eight students now work as personal care assistants. The ESL teacher stays in touch with former students through Facebook, which is an innovative way of tracking student outcomes.

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